Let's face it, we love to eat. People no longer eat to live, they live to eat,but can you blame them? A traditional date always includes going out to eat,business meetings are usually organized in a form of a lunch or dinner. We go outfor burgers, pizza, ice-cream or "just" coffee, and how many of yourfriends don't get munchies at the movies?
There are those few lucky oneswho eat just like the rest of us, yet have flawless complexions and never gain apound. As for the rest (including myself), at one point or another, we startcaring about our physical appearance. Sometimes, however, it's taken toofar.
A few months ago, I decided I was an emotional overeater and I wasgetting fat. In reality, it wasn't true, but I didn't realize that until it wastoo late. Unfortunately, I didn't take the time out to analyze the situation, andI also didn't take the "one-step-at-a-time" approach in solving myproblems. I'll spare you the details, but let's just say I started looking forquick fixes and shortcuts. In the following months, I went through a lot, puttingmyself in physical danger, heading for an emotional breakdown. Thanks to mycaring and supportive friends, I was able to overcome whatever difficulties therewere. I can honestly say everything is back to normal now. If anything good cameout of my insane experience, it would have to be the research I've done on weightloss, diet and exercise.
There are at least two sides to every story,right? Weight loss also has its pros and cons, its supporters and opponents. Thepositives of losing weight are strongly supported by television, movies,magazines, the fashion industry and people in the fitness field (gym owners,equipment manufacturers, diet food and product makers, fitness experts,etc.).Their definition of weight loss means becoming strong (inside and out),looking good (acceptable, beautiful and sexy) and gaining confidence (which leadsto improving your social life, making new friends, getting hired for good jobsand simply becoming comfortable with yourself).
Well, others disagree.These include people who have bad experiences with weight loss, survivors ofserious sicknesses (from attempts to "get in shape"), many feministgroups and also not-so-perfect-looking people who have succeeded in life withexcellent self-esteem and confidence. What these people are saying is that if losingweight isn't approached in a rational, knowledgeable manner, there will be nastyside effects. For example, constantly feeling guilty for overeating can lead tomaking yourself throw up; eating too little or eating the wrong foods can cause adeficiency in nutrients or vitamins; overdoing it in the gym might result inphysical problems, injuries or over-exhaustion. Emotionally, people who setunrealistic goals for themselves, and then don't achieve them, end up in worsecondition.
Sometimes, weight isn't a problem at all, it's used as ascapegoat for other, deeper problems. Some people use the extra pounds as a"shield" from the outside world and from other people who might want toget close. In such cases, problems originate from within. People need to learnhow to love and appreciate themselves, stop trying to fit the fake norm and payless attention to the media.
My advice to you is try to be the best youcan be. If that means getting in better shape, by all means, go ahead, but pleasedo it with the right frame of mind! t
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.